A video of a restaurant allegedly refusing entry to a woman wearing a saree contending the attire did not come under the "smart casual" category has gone viral on social media, with the restaurant drawing flak from people. The restaurant, however, claimed the incident was misrepresented and said the establishment believed in "honouring our Indian community and have always welcomed our guests in all dress codes from modern to traditional".
In a Facebook post, Anita Choudaary alleged she was not allowed to enter the Aquila restaurant at Ansal Plaza here on Sunday, because she was wearing a saree. "In one of the restaurants in Delhi, saree is not considered to be a smart outfit. The restaurant's name is Aquila. We argued over saree, and a lot of excuses were made, but I was not allowed to enter the restaurant, because the Indian attire -- saree is not a smart outfit.
"I have never been insulted like this. I also feel hurt," she wrote. She also posted a purported video of her argument with the restaurant staff, alongside a couple of pictures of herself in the saree.
Choudaary, according to her Facebook profile, is a creative director at Doordarshan National.
After her post went viral, the restaurant received heavy backlash with people calling the eatery out on social media as well as food aggregator platforms like Zomato. Responding to the allegations, the restaurant on Wednesday took to Instagram to clarify their side of the story.
According to them, the "10 second" clip posted by Choudaary was part of a conversation that lasted for "one hour".
"We chose to stay silent till now and have been patiently watching the situation related to the incident that took place at Aquila on September 19 unfold.
"A guest visited the restaurant and was politely requested to wait at the gate as there was no reservation under her name. However, while we discussed internally as to where we could seat them, the guest entered the restaurant and began to fight and abuse our staff. What unfolded after was beyond our imagination, with the guest slapping our manager," the restaurant wrote on its Instagram post.
It has also added CCTV footage of the incident, as well as a separate video where women wearing sarees are entering the restaurant. According to the restaurant, the comment on saree not being a "smart casual" outfit in the video shared by Choudaary was a way to "tackle" the situation.
"To tackle the situation and request the guest to leave, one of our gate managers made a statement on sarees not being a part of our smart casual dress code and our whole team apologises for the same," the statement said.
Aquila went on to apologise for the remark.
"Aquila is a homegrown brand and each member of the team stands tall as a proud Indian. Our gate manager's statement in no way is a representation of the entire team's view on the dress code. Nowhere in our company policy does it say that we will refuse entry to anybody in ethnic wear.
"While we have all the right to take steps for the violence by the guest against our staff, we have chosen to maintain peace so far but in accordance with our policy of maintaining transparency with our stakeholders we are now issuing this statement," Aquila said.